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Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away Limited 3D Edition Blu-ray 3D Review

cirque-du-soleil-worlds-away-3d-bd-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D)/MVC (3D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Audio Description Dolby Digital 5.1, French, Portuguese, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG
  • Run Time: 91 Mins
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: iTunes Digital Copy & UltraViolet
  • Studio: Paramount Home Media Distribution
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 12, 2013
  • List Price: $54.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Cirque-du-Soleil-Worlds-Away-3D-BD_02
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
is the latest spectacle from the French Canadian circus troupe. If you’re familiar with the “Sun Circus”, you’ll know that it only bears a passing resemblance to the tent shows and carnival roots of such famous traveling shows like Ringling Bros. Cirque du Soleil has excelled in creating elaborate productions that merge the various circus talents like trapeze, high wire, and flame handlers with a European aesthetic. The result is usually something surreal, lavish, and definitely something adults can appreciate. The often dark imagery can be too scary for the little kids that often make up circus crowds at other productions, like Big Apple Circus, or the aforementioned Ringling Bros.

This latest production, Worlds Away, directed for the big screen by Andrew Adamson (Shrek) and produced by James Cameron (Avatar), takes you on a journey not unlike Alice Through the Looking Glass. Innocent midwestern girl Mia (Erica Linz) visits the Circus Maximus traveling show where she is encouraged to go see The Aerialist (Igor Zaripov) perform. It’s love at first sight as their eyes meet, but Mia’s presence distracts The Aerialist who is working without a net. He misses the trapeze and falls through the ring. Mia follows him, and the two end up in the magical world of Cirque du Soleil. There they must try to find each other as they make their ways through the various tents. Mia, led by the ringleader; The Aerialist, imprisoned by crueler companions.

It goes without saying that this is a visual treat that looks custom made for a 3D production. There is a swimming pool at the center that stands in for a ring, mermaids, aerialists swooping over in ships, clowns on fire, enchantingly sensual contortionists – all set against a world beat score from Benoit Jutras. The camerawork is some of the best I have seen in capturing a production meant to be a live show for the big screen. They really place you inside the world of Cirque du Soleil. At one point, the pool of water transforms into a moon before your eyes; Mia heads toward what looks like a gigantic tent across a smoke filled stage, and it’s staggering.

Video Quality

HD: [Rating:5/5]

3D Effect: [4.5/5]

Cirque-du-Soleil-Worlds-Away-3D-BD_01

This is a James Cameron production, so, as to be expected by now, Worlds Away was an original high definition 3D production shot with the PACE Fusion 3D system. It comes to Blu-ray 3D with a Full HD 1080p/24 MVC encodement framed at 1.78:1. Like most productions —  from Avatar to Resident Evil: Afterlife, to the more recent Life of Pi  — shot with the Fusion system, the 3D is natural and gorgeous. In the very opening scene, there is a bit of a pop-up book look, and, on my display, some issues with crosstalk. However, once we move to the Circus Maximus and beyond, these issues dissolve and we are given a strong 3D effect with great depth. In 2D, the image is strong as well, offering a lot of detail and texture with no anomalies to speak of.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Cirque-du-Soleil-Worlds-Away-3D-BD_03

An English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is offered alongside other dubs and a DVS track. This lossless track has subtle low frequencies that could stand to be beefed up just a tad, but it does work nevertheless. One particular scene, with the cage runners, offers some aggressively panned percussion in a circular pattern with superb dynamics.

Supplemental Quality

[Rating:2/5]

Cirque-du-Soleil-Worlds-Away-3D-BD_04

There isn’t much here to speak of. The so called “making of” clocks in at a whopping 2 ½ minutes, while we do get a behind-the-scenes look at star Erica Linz that is just a bit longer and a promo for the show in Las Vegas.

The supplements:

  • Making Worlds Away (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:26)
  • A Day in the Life with Erica Linz (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:24)
  • Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas Commercial (1.78:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Cirque-du-Soleil-Worlds-Away-3D-BD_05

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away is a majestic journey. For those who have had the pleasure of experiencing this troupe live, then this release will be a good reminder. For those who have not yet had the opportunity, then let this be the catalyst that gets you to one of their shows. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

 Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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